Katie Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy and is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. She works from her home office on the east coast of Florida. Most often she writes about life in a combined family of five children and what it's like being a full time work-from-home parent. Feel free to pitch guest post ideas or just drop her a line at katie@mumblingmommy.com.

A road trip with kids is a lot of work, but worth it.

Road trips can be really life-affirming, but can also make you question your judgment as a parent. Don’t get me wrong, I really look forward to the annual summer road trip I take with my five kids and husband, visiting family all along the way. Like a lot of challenges in parenting, however, my memories of the road trip tend to get rosier as time progresses. By the time I’m packing up the mini-van for the next trek, I’ve basically forgotten all the pain-in-the-ass moments from the year before. Which is probably a good thing for the survival of this family tradition.
This year I jotted down a few passing thoughts for posterity as we meandered the East Coast and Midwest. These are the 10 most common thoughts I had on the old-fashioned family road trip of 2015.

My Mind on a Road Trip with Kids

I have to pee. Except that there is a sleeping 8-month-old and three-year-old… so, no. I don’t actually have to pee.

road trip with kids


I want coffee.

This is not so much because of the caffeine boost. It’s more about being alone in the passenger seat, all my minions strapped into their own respective seats, husband behind the wheel, and having the freedom to actually enjoy my HOT coffee. Ahhhhh….

Why didn’t we fly?

This is taking forever. Traffic stinks. Another monsoon while we are driving through the mountains? My butt is asleep.

road trip with kids


This is actually really nice.

No internet. No one poking me or insisting that they sit on my lap or that I share my lunch with them. My kids are carrying on civilized conversations with each other and want to play “A my name is…” with me. Why don’t we do this more often?

road trip with kids

I literally have the worst kids in the entire universe.

And yes, I’m using the word “literally” correctly. There is no possible way that there are any worse kids anywhere else on the entire face of the planet. The yelling/whining/bickering/hitting/biting/high-pitched screeching/kicking my seat/non-sharing… even the baby’s jibber jabber is sassy.

I have the best kids ever.

I just heard my oldest declare this the best road trip ever to his sisters. My middle girls are holding hands and reading a book together. My preschooler is making faces at the baby who is rear facing and both are laughing wildly. How did I win the kid lottery??

road trip with kids

I want a vegetable.

Between the 25 sandwiches we packed for the first day, the animal crackers, the chips, the pretzels sticks, the Starbucks banana bread (oh.my.word), and miscellaneous fast food stops, all I want are carrot sticks after this road trip with kids. For like a month.

I want to drive.

It might be bumper-to-bumper traffic in downtown Atlanta, but it’s my turn. I need a break from being the go-to parent for everything everyone needs (times 5 kids). Why does he get to just relax behind the wheel on this road trip with kids?

road trip with kids


Why did I want a turn driving?

It turns out driving in a new place with a van full of my most precious cargo makes me really anxious. Plus there’s all the coffee I enjoyed while in the passenger seat. Are the kids being louder now that I’m driving? Why are there so many other cars suddenly?

I want my bed.

After two weeks+ of family beds and couches, a few hotels, and one questionable owner-rental, all I want is my own bed, my own pillow, my own space. I’m sure the road will call to us once again, and I’ll heed it. But for now, there’s no place like home.

What would you add to my list for taking a road trip with kids?

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Category: Family Free Time

Tags: Katie